On Saturday, about 1,500 participants joined The Princess Margaret Walk to Conquer Cancer, which covered 20 kilometres through the streets of downtown Toronto. (Photo: The PMCF)

After two years of hybrid events, The Princess Margaret Walk to Conquer Cancer returned to an in-person event this past weekend as participants stepped up for the 20th annual event, which raised more than $3 million for vital cancer research.

Since its inception, more than $193 million has been raised to fuel the lifesaving work of over 1,300 researchers, clinicians, surgeons and scientists who every day push the boundaries in cancer care and research for the more than 200,000 annual patients at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

About 1,500 participants joined the 20-kilometre walk on Saturday, which kicked off at Yonge-Dundas Square, with some words of inspiration from Dr. Miyo Yamashita, Tammy Johnson, and Steve Merker, from The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

"Each year nearly a quarter million Canadians are diagnosed with cancer, and the number is rising," Dr. Yamashita, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, told the crowd. "This year is our in-person comeback, and everyone here truly stepped up to achieve one unified goal — to Conquer Cancer in Our Lifetime.

"From start to finish, The Walk to Conquer Cancer is an emotional and inspirational experience, and we are grateful to everyone who participated and donated – whether in person or virtually."

On Sunday, more than 1,500 people participated in a second event, the Journey to Conquer Cancer, which raised more than $1.2 million. Participants had the choice of running or walking one-km, three-km or five-km routes, starting at Yonge-Dundas Square, passing by the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre with pit stops and live entertainment along the way.

Since it began in 2013, this family-friendly event has raised more than $13 million.

The family-friendly Journey to Conquer Cancer took place on Sunday. (Photo: The PMCF)

The Princess Margaret, one of the top five cancer research centres in the world, is home to several hundred "world-firsts" in cancer research and patient care as a direct result of the funds raised at events such as The Walk to Conquer Cancer and the Journey to Conquer Cancer.

  • In 1976, Dr. Hans Messner performed the first allogeneic bone marrow transplant at Princess Margaret, now one of the largest blood and marrow transplant programs in the world
  • In 2006, Dr. John Dick identified colon cancer stem cells
  • In 2014, The Princess Margaret developed unique nanotechnology to make tumours glow, giving patients the potential to receive information in real-time on how their cancer is responding to treatment
  • In 2018, The Princess Margaret developed a simple blood test to detect different kinds of cancer, potentially diminishing the need for biopsies and allowing doctors to detect cancer before symptoms appear

Today, the patients at The Princess Margaret, across Canada, and around the world benefit from these breakthroughs in treatments and standards of care. It has never been more important to get involved.

The Princess Margaret welcomes participants of all abilities and encourages new and returning participants to register online for next year's Walk to Conquer Cancer at walk2conquercancer.ca and Journey to Conquer Cancer at Journey to Conquer Cancer.

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